One of the things I am actively trying to work on is sharing more of myself with other people. Sometimes I feel like the only person who really gets to know me well is my partner. I mean, that makes sense, of course, since we spend nearly all of our free time together, but while some people enjoy sharing their lives with their coworkers and other acquaintances I've always found myself to be a fairly private person on the inside. For some reason, I'm just not very comfortable being myself around people I haven't known for a very long time! This is something I've been trying to change while at work (where I rarely talk about myself let alone anything that really exemplifies my personality) and
here on the lizz delicious
blog. I seem to be very "down to business" when it comes to sharing things with my readers, much like how I am when it comes to my job, but I fully intend to broaden my subject matter from here on out, and to give you a fuller, richer, more personal experience with my posts in the future. I feel like you all have opened up more to me, and I should be doing the same thing in return!
I bring this up because the following recipe is an example of my personality coming through on my blog. When the Avengers movie came out last year, I wrote a post with a recipe for Vegan Tofu Shawarma
inspired by a discussion some of the characters had during the movie. Had I heard of shawarma before? No. Did I have any other reason for making a vegan recipe for it than the fact that I'm a nerd? Absolutely not! I just couldn't resist. And I'm glad I shared it and a piece of myself with the world as it is a recipe that I receive a lot of search engine traffic from, believe it or not. And with the third Iron Man movie having just come out, visions of tofu shawarma have been flitting through my head. Of all things, right?
And while I liked the original recipe quite a bit, I felt like it had some definite room for improvement. For instance, frying tofu dipped in yogurt takes a considerable amount of time. So, Thursday night, I went back to the recipe and mixed it up a bit, and here is the final result. It is so good
, y'all, it's difficult to describe. The spices on the tofu give it a sweet and smoky flavor. Paired with some tabouleh, crunchy lettuce, and fresh cucumber, I was in heaven. The spices used in this recipe are still inspired by a website I found calledShawarma Recipe
, as are the recommended toppings. It is in no way "authentic" but it is still DARN
tasty. And this version is a lot easier to make than my previous attempt. I hope you like it!
Vegan Tofu Shawarma
1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Flatbread or pita pockets
Tabouleh or hummus
Diced cucumber DIRECTIONS
Drain the tofu and press out the water, using a tofu press (click here to purchase
) or by placing it on a place with a heavy baking dish on top. Press for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the salt, spices, and cornstarch in a mixing bowl.
When the water has been pressed from the tofu, cut the block into small cubes (as pictured). Add to the mixing bowl and toss to coat. Make sure each piece gets some of the spices on it!
In a large frying pan, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook on one side for 4-5 minutes. Turn the pieces over to the best of your ability and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. If desired, continue cooking the tofu on each side until perfectly crispy. I usually give it a crust on 3 sides. After that, it smells too enticing and I must consume it!
Warm the pita pockets for 10-30 seconds in your microwave to prevent them from breaking when you fold them up. Place your vegetables and condiments in the middle, top with some tofu, fold, and eat. With a giant smile on your face.
Makes 4 servings.
This post is actually the result of visiting the 6701 Burnet Road Market
. Chris and I love farmer's markets and it has become a goal of mine to visit more of the ones we have in Austin (and there are many!). She and I started going to farmer's markets when we moved here in 2010. Our favorite back then was the one at Lakeline Mall. The distance is a bit much for us, though, and the Burnet Rd. market is right down the street.
When we went a few weeks ago there were four booths of produce, one supplying olive oil and vinegar, and then a flea market with four or five vendors selling vintage items and collectibles. We wandered through them all and made several purchases, including a couple of GIANT sweet potatoes and some kale which we ate for dinner the following night.
I know a lot of people like baking their sweet potatoes, covering them in butter and brown sugar. I prefer them when made savory or at least not sweet. I found a recipe online for roasted sweet potatoes. It had Chris oohing and ahhing all through dinner. I made the kale in my usual way, and I'll give you the recipe for that, too. Even though you use a few more pots and pans than my other super easy recipes, making this combo is still incredibly easy. I made the recipe as a bake last night (which is when I took these pictures) and I think I liked it even more.
This is a really easy recipe that will fill you up and give you the warm, autumn fuzzies. Serve with a protein, like a side of beans or a Field Grain sausage, and if you don't like kale you can serve it with a side of broccoli or a bed of rice. Enjoy!INGREDIENTS
2 medium or large sweet potatoes, cubed
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 small zucchini, cut into half moon shaped slices
1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons vegan butter OR 2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper
1 large bunch of kale
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable stock or broth
Freshly ground salt and pepperDIRECTIONS
To prepare the sweet potatoes, add the cubed pieces to a pot and cover with water so that the cubes are submerged. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drain and add to a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add your butter, zucchini, sliced garlic, and tofu. These are optional, by the way. If desired, you can make the sweet potatoes by themselves without adding the additional veggies and protein. It's up to you! Crush the rosemary leaves between your fingers as you add the seasoning to the dish. Then add a few cranks of freshly ground salt and pepper. Bake on the bottom rack of a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for 20 minutes more.
For the kale, trim off the hard, stringy stems and slice the leaves into smaller pieces. Warm the olive oil in a pot and then add the minced garlic. Saute for a few minutes on medium heat, until the garlic begins to turn yellow or yellowish brown. Add the vegetable broth and then the kale and stir. Top with a few cranks of freshly ground salt and pepper. Stir again. Cook until the leaves have wilted. Taste test! Add more salt and pepper if desired. You can also cook off some of the liquid if its still present, or scoop the kale from the pot using a slotted spoon.
Enjoy with a slice of crusty, whole grain bread!
Thanks for reading!
Check out these other easy recipes!
If I had a vegan cooking show (or, you know, YouTube channel) one of the things I would advocate to my viewers would be to learn how to cook without recipes. Not everyone has luck with this. In fact, it's taken me years to be able to go into the kitchen with leftovers or this and that and whip something up. There are still times when the end result isn't fantastic, but I haven't made anything inedible in a long, long time. But I digress.
One of the things I like making differently each time is pasta sauce. I'll get to that sometime later in the month. For now, another great technique Chris and I use regularly is what we call the "tofu bake." Chris started making tofu bakes months ago as part of her weight loss journey. I fondly recollect coming home from work at 10 o'clock many evenings this past summer to leftover combinations of tofu and vegetables that she creatively and lovingly prepared. It makes me sigh with contentment.
It's pretty easy to make a tofu bake, and even if your concoction doesn't end up being perfect, you'll still have a satisfying meal that's healthy and tastes good. Notice in the following recipe I mention using pineapple balsamic vinegar. This is something Chris and I picked up at the 6701 Burnet Road Market
two weekends ago (cost us $17!). It gave the bake a very neat flavor, especially where the tomatoes are concerned. If you can find it, I highly recommend it.
This is how I made tofu bake last week.INGREDIENTS
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu
1 pound fresh green beans, chopped into bitesize bits
1/2-3/4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, whole
1 yellow squash, sliced in half and cut into half circles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pineapple balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Freshly ground saltDIRECTIONS
Drain and press the tofu to remove excess water. I use a Tofu Xpress
gadget for this. It's my favorite kitchen tool ever. Place the veggies and tofu in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Add the liquids and seasonings and stir to cover. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for 20 minutes more. Or until your vegetables are fully cooked!
For a generic, experiment-on-your own recipe, try this:
Fill a 9x13 inch casserole dish with chopped fresh vegetables like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, bite size tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potato, etc. Add your pressed tofu and 2-3 tablespoons of liquid (at least 1 tablespoon of oil, and 1 or 2 of flavored or plain balsamic vinegar or soy sauce), fresh salt and pepper, and 1-2 teaspoons of various seasonings. You can also throw some fresh garlic in there, too, either whole cloves or sliced in half. Bake the same way as mentioned above. Be creative! This formula is super easy and will give you a lot to work with.
If you're like me, you'd love to have a few slices of buttered toast or a hunk of crusty bread to accompany it. A tofu bake is also excellent on top of rice or noodles or served with your favorite meat substitute.
Makes 3-4 servings if served as a side and 1-3 servings if served as an entree.Note: I hope you're enjoying my Vegan Mofo posts! My theme for this year is making veganism "easier" and more easy to make recipes are to come. While I have your attention, I'd like to remind you about my current giveaway. Visit this post to enter to win a "Better-Pizza-Building Kit" from Hodgson Mill Inc. and see what I'm up to for their related competition!
If you like this recipe you may like these, too!
So today was a pretty good day. So was yesterday. I don't get two days off in a row all that much (though it does happen). I started working on a few cake trays/platters that I'm not sure what I'm going to do with, but I'm having fun making them and that's what's important. You may have seen the initial stages picture up on my Instagram
feed. They will both say "Peace, Love, Vegan" on the bottom tier in an inked (tattoo-like) style. Fun stuff!
Last night I attempted to make something called a Buddha Bowl. My inspiration is a dish by the same name made by a favorite restaurant of mine called the Steeping Room
. But the concept isn't new and it has been used by many restaurants and chefs before.
As far as I can deduce, the concept is one meal of three components served in one bowl (typically a grain, vegetable, and sauce). It seems as if the inspiration comes from the meals monks in some Buddhist monasteries often eat. I have one
sources to back this up!
In any case, the Buddha Bowl at the Steeping Room comes with a green, the grain of the day, and baked tofu or chicken (pff!) and your choice of delicious sauce (I highly recommend the peanut). So that is how I decided to make it.
I went with kale, which I have never made at home. Bitter things aren't something I'm fond of, but kale is super good for you and I'm trying to be better about eating more healthily. I have never baked tofu before, either! After some searching on the Internet, this is how I went about making my Buddha Bowl.
Marinated Baked Tofu
This recipe is adapted from the one found on The Kitchn
. It is very salty! If you would like to tone down the sodium, see my notes below.INGREDIENTS
1 14- or 16-ounce package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce (or 1/8 for less saltiness)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or vegetable broth, maybe?)DIRECTIONS
Press your tofu to get the water out of it. Slice into 8 pieces. Mix soy sauce and oil (or broth) in an 8x8 inch pan. Marinate the tofu in the pan. Flip after 15 minutes and marinate for 15 minutes more. Temporarily remove the tofu and drain the excess marinade from the pan. Wipe the outside with a towel if any marinade drips down the side. Return tofu to the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway.
Makes 4 servings of 2 slices each.
I've had good kale and bad kale. Even though I'm great at making most things from scratch, I didn't want to risk this one. True story, when looking for a recipe online, I typed "kale that doesn't suck" into Google and found this one. I adapted this recipe from the one made by Grit & Glimmer
. They are right; it does not suck.INGREDIENTS
1 bunch of kale, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Freshly ground salt and pepperDIRECTIONS
Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the garlic. Cook until it begins to yellow. Add the broth and kale. Crank your salt and pepper grinders over the mixture a few times and stir. Let cook for about ten minutes and test for flavor and texture. The kale will turn bright green and shiny when cooked thoroughly. Add more salt and pepper to your taste. Let the kale cook on low to medium heat until the liquid at the bottom of the pan has evaporated. It shouldn't take too long!
Makes 3-4 servings.
Assembly and Conclusion
Serve with a side of white, brown, or medley rice. Last night we had a wild and brown rice medley. Just cook it according to its instructions. Red rice is great, too! Other options include quinoa and soba noodles. Use a deep dish plate or wide mouth bowl. Drizzle with your desired sauce. We got a peanut sauce from the store. It's nowhere near as good as the one at the Steeping Room, but it's still pretty good. Enjoy!
While this meal was a definite success, I think I'll be making more versions of the Buddha Bowl in the future. It's easy, healthy, and the possibilities are nearly endless. If you've made a similar dish, I would love to hear about what you came up with!
Thanks for reading!
There are more recipes to choose from!
So I'm not really surprised that I didn't win the PPK's Chopped Vegan competition (after all, I didn't read the rules thoroughly- y'know, that part about you making an entree and not a dessert) but whatevs. I made two really tasty dishes that I'll be making again, for sure. BUT! In celebration of my LOSING, here's another tasty recipe.
I've been holding this one in the queue for awhile now; I just haven't had a great opportunity to post it. I haven't made a lot of tofu dishes from scratch, but I'm beginning to experiment with them after having such success with things like tofu scramble. I whipped this up in April and enjoyed it a lot.
Tofu frittatas are pretty easy to experiment with! If you're not fond of artichokes (gasp!) but still want to try this recipe out, substitute another vegetable in its place. Sauteed broccoli sounds delish as does a mixture of peppers and zucchini. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!
But here's the recipe for Easy Vegan Artichoke Frittata:
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed to remove water
1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
2 chopped tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
1 12-14 ounce jar marinated artichokes, chopped coarsely
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/3 cup cheddar Daiya vegan cheese shredsDIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Press your tofu using a pressing gadget
or using a traditional technique. Crumble it into tiny pieces and place in a large mixing bowl, except for about 1/3 of a cup; add that to a food processor with the cashews and grind until smooth or cheese like. Combine with the crumbled tofu and remaining ingredients and mix well.
Oil a 9 inch square or circular pan. Spoon the frittata into the pan and smooth into the edges and on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until slightly browned on top.
Serve with homemade breakfast potatoes or your favorite frozen variety! And maybe a nice piece of toast!
Makes 4-6 servings.
Like this recipe? Try another!
I'm starting to think I have this reputation at work for being some kind of food nerd. No, seriously. I mean it. When the Avengers movie came out, some of my co-workers, after the initial questions of "Did you see it?" and "Wasn't it awesome?" were over with, proceeded to ask me "Did you like the part at the end? And what is shawarma anyway?"
So, yes, "shawarma" is a Middle Eastern fast food usually involving alternating layers of meat and fat on a spit that's seasoned as its cooked, rotisserie style. I don't cook a lot of Middle Eastern food and I sure as heck had never heard of shawarma prior to seeing the Avengers
. I did, however, look it up as soon as the movie was over and was, of course, more than ready to inform my coworkers of the delight it was sure to be should they try to find some place in Austin that serves it.
Meanwhile, back in veganland, I was determined to make some semblance of shawarma that Chris and I could eat. Somewhere on the interwebs, I found this website called Shawarma Recipe
which is devoted to bringing the flavors of authentic shawarma to the comfort of your very own kitchen.
So after rummaging through their posts, I picked one to try out using tofu instead of meat. This is the recipe I came up with, adapted from theirs
. I have never fried tofu in yogurt before and I was very pleased with the results. If you prefer, feel free to add more of each of the spices. The dish was flavorful, but not spicy in the least. I expect you could get away with doubling both the turmeric and cumin... If you make it, let me know what you think. I'll be experimenting with more of the Shawarma Recipe website's other recipes in the future.
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed
1 6-ounce package plain soy yogurt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Oil, for frying
Pita pockets, shredded lettuce, chopping onion, and diced tomato
Press the water from the tofu using a tofu press or your favorite method. Cut the brick of tofu in half through the middle and then into strips. You can make them whatever size you prefer, but frying them on each side will take time, so it's best if their on the bigger side as opposed to bite side.
In a bowl, combine spices and mix well. Add yogurt and stir until thoroughly combined. Add tofu and gently roll the slices in the yogurt mixture to cover each side. Let sit for at least one hour to absorb the flavors of the marinade.
Warm the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the tofu, making sure all sides have some yogurty goodness on them. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until browned and slightly crisped to your liking.
Assemble pita pockets with the veggies and 1-2 of the cooked tofu strips per pocket. Add hummus, if desired, and serve extra hummus and chips on the side.
Makes approximately 6 pockets.
NOTE: You may notice a difference in the quality of my photos. I am attempting to use my cell phone camera to take pictures because my SLR is having a HUGE ISSUE with light streaks and I can't figure out how to compensate for it. I would repair it, but I think it's in my best interest to just buy a new camera. So, bear with me as I save my pennies...
Well, I still have a few posts left to share with you about my mom's visit. It has just been CRAZY difficult devoting time to writing blog entries when I've been working full time and also developing recipes for my first cookbook
. Summertime Sippers
, by the way, is coming along BEAUTIFULLY. I really am ever so pleased with the would-be final result. But, while I work on the book and a write-up of our lunch at the Vegan Yacht, I wanted to share something with you, and this is it:
What is this yellowy mess that looks so delicious?? Why, it's called "tofu scramble" and it is one of Chris and I's favorite things to make.
We love tofu. It's easy to get, affordable, and versatile (not to mention healthy). Tofu has become a very popular ingredient to use for replacing eggs- you can use it to make quiche, frittatas, omelets and imitation scrambled eggs. And it really does have that wholesome, comfort food feel.
Believe me, I was wary at first, too. I hope you'll trust me and try it out yourself. And I have the perfect recipe(s) for you to start with!
About.com has an extensive vegetarian section and that's where I got the recipe I use for tofu scramble.
This version is called "Easy Tofu Scramble" and you can get it right here
The only thing I did differently was press the tofu with my TofuXPress
prior to crumbling it. Pressing tofu, I may have mentioned before, removes a lot of the water and enables it to be cooked more thoroughly (notice how nice and browned it is in my photo). I don't make tofu without one. I even bought my mom one for Mother's Day!
I also added some roasted red pepper to the recipe, which was very nice. I had a Roma tomato I meant to add, too, but I forgot. Oops!
I served it with rosemary sourdough toast and some "Berry Good Iced Tea," which is a recipe from Summertime Sippers
Chris and I will hopefully be finished designing my book this week (right, dear?) and my self-imposed May 1st deadline could actually happen. Yay!!
Until next time, thanks for reading!
I love stir fry. Take a bed of white rice, top it with vegetables lightly cooked in a small amount of oil, and throw in a side of well cooked and seasoned tofu. What's not to love? Even without any spices you're nearly guaranteed a delicious final product. I don't usually follow a recipe when I make stir fry. Experimenting with spices is super fun so I try to do something different each time. And I figured that since I have this blog thing, I can keep track of my stir fry experiments and share them with you! So here is what I made most recently. Let me know if you try it, or if you have a suggestion for my next experiment.
2 cups white rice
4 cups water (or as according to the package or cooker instructions)
1 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
2 T vegetarian powdered "chicken" flavor
I always make my rice in a rice cooker. It comes out perfectly almost every time. It also makes it easier to concentrate on making the rest of your meal because you don't have to worry about stirring and changing the temperature as the water evaporates. So, I cooked my rice according to the rice cooker's instructions but also added the above list of spices. I gave it a good stir before closing the lid and starting the cooking cycle, and I also mixed it real well before serving.White Pepper TofuINGREDIENTS
1/4-1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 16 ounce package firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oilDIRECTIONS
Press your tofu (using the traditional method or a tofu press device
) for at least 40 minutes prior to cooking. This will eliminate the water that keeps the tofu mushy. Pressing tofu also makes it more palatable to picky eaters because it gives it a meatier texture. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, non-stick frying pan. Cut your tofu into your desired shape. I like to cut mine into pieces that measure approximately 1 inch long and 1/4 inch thick and 1/2 inch wide. Spread the tofu slices evenly over the surface of the pan and sprinkle with the white pepper. Let cook for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5-7 to ensure even cooking. The final result should be brown on its sides and really nice and chewy. Yum!Stir Fried VeggiesINGREDIENTS
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 16 ounce package frozen broccoli stir fry mix
2 tablespoons olive oilDIRECTIONS
Allow veggies to thaw at room temperature for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking. In a large, non-stick pot or saucepan, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add veggies, soy sauce, and five spice and stir. Sprinkle evenly with garlic salt, stir, and sprinkle again. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked. Serve veggies and tofu on a bed of the rice. Also pictured are store bought vegan spring rolls!
Makes 4 servings.